The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute occupies a unique place in health care and health research. PCORI funds patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research to assist patients, clinicians, purchasers, policymakers, and the broader healthcare community in making informed health decisions. Guidance from a wide range of health stakeholders ensures that the research and initiatives PCORI funds are relevant and that our stakeholders are engaged throughout the research lifecycle, from developing research topics to ensuring the use and uptake of study findings.
PCORI's congressional authorization requires identification of National Priorities and establishment of a Research Agenda outlining how PCORI will address each priority. These documents guide our work. Hundreds of stakeholder representatives, advisors, and experts are informing our process, strategic approach, and various content elements, such as the proposed priorities.
In June 2021, the PCORI Board of Governors voted to release for public comment five proposed National Priorities for Health. PCORI will work toward these broad, ambitious goals through our Research Agenda, stakeholder engagement, dissemination and implementation, and health communication. While our current National Priorities and Research Agenda have guided PCORI for nearly 10 years, these proposed priorities represent an ambitious new approach to direct our work in the years ahead.
After a 60-day public comment period from June 28 to August 27, PCORI will revise the proposed National Priorities for Health and expects to finalize them in Fall 2021. The finalized priorities will serve as the foundation for developing PCORI’s Research Agenda, which we intend to present for public comment in Fall 2021.
Proposed National Priorities
Increase Evidence for Existing Interventions and Emerging Innovations in Health
PCORI aims to fund comparative effectiveness research on both new and existing healthcare approaches. This type of research compares two or more ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat a health condition. It can also compare ways to deliver health care. This research will help to close gaps in what is known, so that people have better information when making health decisions. Filling these gaps for both current and emerging approaches will improve health care, health outcomes, and health equity.
Enhance Infrastructure to Accelerate Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
PCORI aims to improve the nation’s capacity for health research. Goals include expanding:
- The use of real-world data, such as health records or public health data, for research
- The number and diversity of people and communities who lead or partner in research
- Policies and practices that help people work together and learn from each other.
A strong infrastructure like this can improve the research process and lead to better study results. Doing so can improve the healthcare system and people’s health.
Advance the Science of Dissemination, Implementation, and Health Communication
PCORI aims to advance the science of, and practices that support, the real-world use of research results. In this way, research can better inform health decisions and improve health care and health. These efforts will look at how to best communicate about and share study results with diverse audiences. They will also look at ways to get results to patients, clinicians, and others to use in their health decisions.
Achieve Health Equity
PCORI aims to advance health equity in the United States. Health equity exists when all people have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy. Yet not all people and communities have such opportunities. Harmful societal policies and practices over generations have led to continued poor health. This affects people of color, people with low income, and people with disabilities more than others. Advancing health equity requires partnering with these communities. It also involves building on and creating new ways to do, share, and use research to improve health.
Accelerate Progress Toward an Integrated Learning Health System
PCORI aims to support a learning health system, or LHS, that works to improve patients’ experience with health care and their health. Systems that affect people’s health—including health care, public health, and social services—often work independently. An integrated LHS can help these systems work together. To do so, it centers on what matters most to people and communities. A successful LHS depends on a feedback cycle to improve health care and health. This cycle engages communities, makes changes, learns from those changes, and repeats.